This Caldecott Honor book is a favorite with my young readers. I usually read it to pre-k through 1st grade. The colors are brilliant, set on a black background.
Seven mice, red, green, yellow, purple, orange, blue and white, try to understand the large object in front of them. Each one feels a different part of the whole and makes a guess as to what the object must be. It isn’t until the seventh mouse runs “up one side, down another and across the Something from end to end” that he discovers that the “Something” is an elephant. The others, then do the same and agree with the white mouse. The moral? “Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole.”
This beautiful book is a Caldecott Medal winner is based on a Yiddish folksong, “Hob Ich Mir a Mantl”. I read it to my preschoolers and kindergartners and got a wonderful response. This book is not only set apart because of its beautiful, colorful illustrations but because of the cutouts that show how Joseph creatively uses his old overcoat as it shrinks to a button and then, finally, to nothing. “Joseph had a a little overcoat. It was old and worn. So he made a jacket out of it.” My favorite message is on the last page. When Joseph finally loses the small button he’s made out of the remains of his overcoat, he says, “So Joseph made a book about it. Which shows…that you can always make something out of nothing.” A great message and a beautiful book for little ones.